Sunday, November 23, 2008

topsy turvy cake


this is another "tea and honey" production ^_^ hehehhe. i made it with my friend, tingting. i dunno why i like to call it "tea and honey" production. her name is tingting, and mine is hany, and i like honey tea... hahahha so there you go, "tea and honey"!


this is for a one-year old birthday party and is our first topsy turvy cake. it's very interesting and quite a challenge. i gotta say though, tingting did most of the hard work on this one (baking the cake, carving the cake, stacking the cake, etc.).

lunch time event is never my favorite as i am not a morning person, and apparently neither is tingting. we were both moving in slow motion at the beginning. it wasn't until the last few hours that we're really cranking up our speed.

we delivered the cake assembled. tingting's parents helped deliver the cake with their suv, that's why we're able to deliver it assembled. i piped the shell borders around the cake on the site. funny how i always dislike doing finishing touches on the site because i feel that i would be uncomfortable when people are watching me. but when i actually have to do it, i didn't even really pay attention to my surrounding anymore.


we're very pleased with the way it turned out. i will definitely make topsy turvy cakes again ^_^.

and guess what i found on my door step when i got home?

it's my diploma!! woohoo! ^_^


*original cake design is from the Pink Cake Box (design chosen by the mother of the bday boy)

Friday, November 21, 2008

road trip snacks


a few weeks ago, hubby and i joined our friends, the Chiengs & the Kyaws on a little weekend vacation to Disneyland. this has been a yearly tradition for the Chiengs, and we finally got the opportunity to join them this year.

i wanted to bring some snacks, and decided to try out some recipes that i've been wanting to make. i looked through my cook books and selected a couple recipes. one brownie and one cookie recipe. the results were so yummy and they received the approval from the test group (yup - gang, you know who you are, and i am referring to you!) ^_^. the trip was 4 days long. the snacks didn't make it to the last day.  and according to my taste test manual, that's a good thing.


these brownies are very thick and dense, just like a fudge! it uses bittersweet chocolate that helps in making it not so overwhelmingly sweet.

the chocolate chip cookies are nice and chewy, just the way i like 'em. i'm never so crazy about the crispy ones, but that's just my personal preference. this one stayed chewy even after they cool down. they key is to take it out from the oven whey they're still a tad underbake. they'll continue cooking as they cool slightly on the pan. if you let it stay in the oven until they are thoroughly cooked, then they will lose that chewiness. i mixed half the dough with milk chocolate chips and the other half bittersweet chocolate chips. i think i prefer the bittersweet ones. again, another personal preference ^_^.


if you want to try making them, you can find the recipes in the america's test kitchen's family baking cook book. or you can ask me and i'll e-mail 'em to you.

the trip was exhausting, but definitely FUN. i miss disneyland already!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a taste of home

hello blogosphere! have you been wondering where i've been and what i've been up to?  i've been missing from the blog world for a while. not because i have not been baking.  but because i'm having difficulties with picnik.com :-(.  i use picnik to edit my pictures... adding watermark and all that.   the site now for some reason wouldn't load the app on my comp.  it's been like that for a while. :-( boo.....

anyway.... i have been baking ^_^.   it's weird how baking somehow has become a part of me now.  it used to only occurred when something special is happening, like birthdays or holidays.  but now, baking happens in my kitchen at least once a week (if not baking, then it's making some decoration for some cakes).  i think i actually bake more than i cook!  ^_^

this week, i decided to try something from my mom's recipes collection: pandan cake. this cake is one of my childhood favorites,  having the sweet scent of pandan around the apartment truly brings back so much memories.  


for those who are not familiar with pandan (or it's proper name "pandanus amaryllifolius"),  it's a type of very fragrancy leaves that is widely used in asian cooking.  it is used in many sweet and savory dishes.  it is often steeped in coconut milk, or added in the process of making coconut rice, to boost the fragrance of the finished product. my mom used to use the juice of fresh pandan on her pandan cakes.  i, unfortunately, was not able to find fresh pandan leaves around here, so had to settle with pandan paste.  

it took me two tries to finally achieve the cake that i recalled in my memory.  my first try was hilarious! i followed my mom's instruction exactly to the dots.  it calls for 2 tbsp of pandan juice.  so i put 2 tbsp of pandan paste thinking that paste and juice would be pretty much the same. right? wrong!  i ended up with a super-green-neon-like cake.  tasted good and looked perfect for st.patty's day.  or if you wanna scare somebody. i think it might glow in the dark too! 

i decided to try again today, and it was perfect.  just the way i remembered it.  light green, spongy cake, with a brown, crispy layer on the outside. yum!


*couldn't resist from taking a bite while i took some pictures ;-p

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

equality of rights for all

i'm never into politics.  i'm not into history either.  i rarely feel strongly about anything or feel the need to express my opinions.  as long as your way doesn't hurt me or anybody, i won't try to change you.  but when it comes to taking away rights from people and discriminating others, i have to say something.
 
in this year's election, one of the most controversial issues is proposition 8, which states: 

ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

  • Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
  • Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
the proposition passes.  

this is very upsetting to me.  one of the things i love about living in california is the cultural diversity.  people comes from different parts of the world to live in california.  there are different ethnicities; different believes; different cultural backgrounds.  yet we still live alongside each other peacefully. we embrace our differences and learn from one another.

proposition 8 is not meant to change the "traditional family" or "education" in california, but to "eliminates right of same sex couple to marry."  who are we, just mere humans, to have the power to "eliminates right" of others?  humans are born equal. none should have the ability to take away rights of others.  and what's wrong with teaching children about gay-marriage?  

i have friends who are same sex couple.  they are just the same as each and all of us.  they're kind hearted and hard working.  most importantly, they love each other the way my husband and i love each other.  so why do we have to treat them differently?  what are we so afraid of? i'd be devastated if i were told that i could not marry my husband.  can you imagine that?  what if somebody told you that you are free to love your spouse, free to get all the benefits married couples get, BUT cannot get marry? 

does it do anybody any harm to see two men hold hands or to see two women kiss? does it blind you? people are people no matter who they choose to love.  what if your son or daughter falls in love with the same sex person?  are you gonna ban his or her rights for being together? oh yeah... they can be together, they just can't get married...   

coming from a third world country,  it wasn't too long ago that i was being discriminated for being a minority and a female.  my parents brought me up to see that all humans are equal.  it saddens me that again i have to witness discrimination.  no matter what reasons you have for voting yes on prop 8, the bottom line is you have helped taken away the rights from same-sex couple to marry... 

hopefully someday people will be able to accept equality for all without any exceptions. equality comes from within.  if you want to be treated fairly and equally, you should do the same to others. if you don't want to be discriminated, then stop discriminating others. 

 be kind to others.....